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Engine 52 Responds to Commercial Building Fire in Fairmount Heights

On Tuesday, June 12, 2007, at approximately 6:00 pm, just prior to crews planning to leave the station for a training exercise at the Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute, Engine 52 and Chief 5 responded to a reported building fire at the Laundromat, located 5327 Sheriff Road in Fairmount Heights. It was reported that the building was struck by lightening during a storm that had just moved through the area.

Engine 52 arrived was the second arriving engine company and took a position on the hydrant with Engine 384’s supply line. The crew advanced an attack line into the fire building. Initially there was no visible fire. Heavy smoke conditions and high heat conditions existed. The fire was located in the ceiling and roof area of the Laundromat. The Laundromat was located in a strip shopping center, also occupied by a clothing store, Chinese Carry-out and Bail Bonds office.

After an aggressive interior attack, conditions continued to deteriorate and the order was given to evacuate. An exterior attacked was mounted using ladder pipes and large caliber hand lines. Crews worked several hours to control the fire. Chief 5 was assigned the Side Alpha Division, coordinating the fire attack from the front of the building.

The incident escalated to a 3rd alarm, including units from the District of Columbia fire Department (DCFD).

Fire investigators on the scene determined that the cause was a lightening strike and damage was estimated at $750,000.